It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Legacy Techniques and Zentangle

(Columbine by Sharon Henderson, silk shading - please click to enlarge)

In addition to the standard curriculum the Botanical Illustration program regularly offers courses in legacy techniques such as egg tempera, silver point, gold leaf gilding and Chinese brush painting. In 2012 we have also offered fore-edge painting (Fepping) and silk shading. We also started to teach Zentangle which can be considered to be from the opposite end of the scale.
Fore-Edge painting of books was originally used for identifying and organizing books (like an early cataloging system) and dates back to the 10th century. Disappearing fore-edge paintings where the painting is invisible when the book is closed is documented from the 17th century and onward. During the 18th century the character of the painting changed from decorative and heraldic to multicolored portraits and landscapes. Our workshop was thought by Jeanne Bennett who has also published and excellent book of the subject. Ms. Bennet is one of the few teachers of Fore-edge painting in the US.
Silk shading is thousands of years old embroidery method. Originating most likely in China silk shading is often called for painting with a needle. Sarah Homfray from Royal School of Needlework was teaching our enthusiastic group of students in this beautiful technique. This was the very first silk shading course ever taught for botanical illustrators.
Zentangle was created only few years ago and is spreading and gaining popularity very fast. We could perhaps call it for doodling but it is more structured way of generating often repetitive patterns and images. Everybody can do it and it is an outstanding way to improve your line work.
Please see more images from these classes by clicking here.  
(Zentangle with a botanical twist by Cathy Cridlebaugh - please click to enlarge)